But I’m a Cheer-leader
Fired Up is a comedy about cheerleading, which immediately places it in danger of being overshadowed. The makers of this film find a creative way to acknowledge the 800-pound cheerleading movie in the room by having its characters attend a massive outdoor screening of Bring It On, with hundreds of girls reciting the dialogue by heart along with the actors on the screen. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of the creativity shown here.
The main characters are Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen), best friends and football heroes for the Tigers of Gerald Ford High School in southeastern Illinois. Having already had sex with almost every halfway desirable girl at their own school, they learn that the Tigers’ cheer squad is going to a regional cheerleading camp to compete against other schools. The guys beg off football camp, join the cheer squad, and quickly find themselves at the local university surrounded by athletic, limber, long-legged hot chicks. The Tigers’ cheerleaders – or at least squad captain Carly (Sarah Roemer) – know what Nick and Shawn are up to but look the other way because this otherwise all-female squad needs the male muscle to perform basket tosses like the top teams do.
Nick and Shawn are creeps, which turns out to be the biggest problem here. Oh, Shawn does fall in love with Carly, and Nick stays around to support his bro rather than bailing on the team as planned, but neither of these developments is in any way convincing. Movies like these usually have a wealthy super-macho frat-boy villain to pit against the heroes, and this one has Carly’s boyfriend, a pre-med college freshman who nevertheless calls himself “Dr. Rick” (David Walton) and has a weird affinity for pop music hits from 1998. Nick and Shawn detest him immediately, yet since they’re so similar to him, it’s tough to see why. The male leads look way too old to be in high school, and worse, they’re charmless. The feckless D’Agosto is merely bland while the blond beefcake Olsen actively sets your teeth on edge – he should have played Dr. Rick instead. Roemer’s wrong too, because she’s too levelheaded to be a cheerleader.
There are some funny bits crawling around the margin of the script, which is by the awesomely named Freedom Jones. Some of the supporting cheer-babes reveal character quirks – anger management issues with one (Margo Harshman), lesbian tendencies with another (Danneel Harris) – that translate into jokes that score. The camp also includes mascots who never speak or take off their costumes, which provides a nice surreal touch in the background. Still, there aren’t enough laughs here to compensate for the douchebag heroes or the amateurish filming of the cheer sequences.
One other hole in the plot: If Nick and Shawn really are big-time studs who’ve exhausted the field at their own school, they would have had to have sex with at least some of the cheerleaders, right? Strangely, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Maybe they’re exaggerating their sexual prowess, but guys never do that, right?